Finance · 28 July 2017

British bank spotlight: What to expect from NatWest business banking

Tom Lovelace Hawthorn
Tom Lovelace has been at the helm of Hawthorn for three years
To find out more about how NatWest’s offering has been experienced by its small business customers, we spoke to Tom Lovelace, founder of men’s clothing manufacturer Hawthorn and a NatWest business banking customer since the formation of his company in 2014.

one thing that I have found to be very impressive about the service is NatWest’s online banking app. It integrates seamlessly with my personal NatWest accounts, and is always being improved with features which I find genuinely useful, Lovelace told Business Advice.

However, the app’s journey hasn’t always been smooth. In April 2017, customers took to social media to express frustration over a technical glitch which caused funds transferred from one account to another to allegedly disappear. NatWest resolved the issue before a bank holiday cash crisis ensued.

Nonetheless, for founders like Lovelace, the app’s capabilities serve an important operational function.

being able to make instant bank transfers to new payees without the need for a card reader is great if I’m travelling and need to make a purchase from within our supply chain network, he explained.

in addition to making transfers to our network at the touch of a button and from wherever I am in the world, I’m able to separate funds when sent to us very easily, Lovelace added, before outlining how bookkeeping has been advanced by the service.

we have a separate account for VAT which allows us to manage our finances easily. No matter where I am, or at what time of day, I can transfer money from our main account to our VAT account, keeping us on top of our finances.

Meanwhile, a new NatWest app, ClearSpend, has started a pilot among 100 businesses that will help owners track and control company card spending.

Reflecting on the wider experience as a NatWest business banking customer, Lovelace commended the service he has received.

the free period of banking for the first couple of years was particularly useful as a startup, when funds can be tight, he added. Once the free period ended, their charges have always been very fair, especially when considering that their customer service over the phone has always been prompt and very efficient.

Business Growth Enablers

We went back to Thomas to find out the official line on what sets NatWest’s business banking offering apart from competitors. He cited the Business Growth Enablers as a key differentiator.

we have 76 around the country and they are tasked with building networks and communities to provide the content and advice corporate businesses take for granted, he explained.

running your own business can be a lonely place, so we set these up to connect owners with the people to help them grow or meet the ambitions of the business.



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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